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committed his emotions to verse form; and so perfect was his art reflected in his Ode to Evening that the reader finds himself under the same controlling spell that the quietude of summer evening in the country magically creates. Swinburne notes the similarity produced by Collins in verse and by Corot in painting.

The poet was keenly disappointed when his volume of odes failed to sell. In a moment of cynicism he bought the unsold portion of the edition and ruthlessly destroyed the sheets. He at intervals after this resumed his poetic labors, but never with the intensity of his former hope. In 1748 he wrote, in honor of his friend James Thomson, that touching elegy so full of languorous beauty beginning with the stanza :

In yonder grave a Druid lies,

Where slowly winds the stealing wave!
The year's best sweets shall duteous rise,
To deck its poet's sylvan grave!

A year later he wrote that long poem, On the Popular Superstition of the Highlands, and in 1750 his Ode on the Music of the Grecian Theatre.

In 1754 the crisis of a long smouldering nervous affection culminated in a violent attack of insanity that forced a temporary confinement in an asylum. Later he was released and was taken to the home of his sister in Chichester, where he remained until his death in 1759. He never regained his sanity.

The fact that Collins left us so small an amount of verse needs to be supplemented by the additional fact that not all of it has come down to us. The records of his life hold titles, but the poems themselves have been lost. We know that the author was a severe critic of his own productions, and doubtless much of his work he deliberately destroyed. This is all the more credible because we know that his was an acutely nervous temperament too often ruled by mere whim. We are grateful for the poems that passed the muster of his scrutinizing eye and thus allowed the world to add to its anthology his ringing notes of patriotic passion and likewise those of a sweetly melancholy strain.



O THOU, by Nature taught
To breathe her genuine thought

In numbers warmly pure, and sweetly strong;
Who first, on mountains wild,
In Fancy, loveliest child,


Thy babe, or Pleasure's, nursed the powers of song!

Thou, who with hermit heart,

Disdain'st the wealth of art,

And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trailing pall,
But com'st, a decent maid
In Attic robe array'd,

O chaste, unboastful Nymph, to thee I call!

By all the honey'd store

On Hybla's thymy shore,

By all her blooms and mingled murmurs dear;
By her whose love-lorn woe

In evening musings slow

Soothed sweetly sad Electra's poet's ear:

By old Cephisus deep,

Who spread his wavy sweep

In warbled wanderings round thy green retreat;
On whose enamell'd side,
When holy Freedom died,

No equal haunt allured thy future feet:·


O sister meek of Truth,
To my admiring youth

Thy sober aid and native charms infuse!
The flowers that sweetest breathe,
Though Beauty cull'd the wreath,
Still ask thy hand to range their order'd hues.

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While Rome could none esteem
But Virtue's patriot theme,

You loved her hills, and led her laureat band;
But stay'd to sing alone

To one distinguish'd throne;

And turn'd thy face, and fled her alter'd land.

No more, in hall or bower,
The Passions own thy power;

Love, only Love, her forceless numbers mean:
For thou hast left her shrine;
Nor olive more, nor vine,

Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.

May court, may charm our eye;

Thou, only thou, canst raise the meeting soul!

Though taste, though genius, bless
To some divine excess,

Faints the cold work till thou inspire the whole; 45
What each, what all supply

Of these let others ask

To aid some mighty task;

I only seek to find thy temperate vale;
Where oft my reed might sound
To maids and shepherds round,
And all thy sons, O Nature! learn my tale.


How sleep the brave, who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.


By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung:




There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair
To dwell a weeping hermit there!



WHEN Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Throng'd around her magic cell
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possest beyond the Muse's painting;
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturb'd, delighted, raised, refined:
'Till once, 't is said, when all were fired,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound,
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each (for Madness ruled the hour)
Would prove his own expressive power.

First Fear his hand, its skill to try,

Amid the chords bewilder'd laid, And back recoil'd, he knew not why,

E'en at the sound himself had made.

Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,

In lightnings, own'd his secret stings; In one rude clash he struck the lyre

And swept with hurried hand the strings.

With woeful measures wan Despair,
Low sullen sounds, his grief beguiled;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air,

"T was sad by fits, by starts 't was wild.







But thou, O Hope, with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure?
Still it whisper'd promised pleasure

And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail!
Still would her touch the strain prolong;

And from the rocks, the woods, the vale She call'd on Echo still through all the song; And, where her sweetest theme she chose, A soft responsive voice was heard at every close; And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair;

And longer had she sung: - but with a frown
Revenge impatient rose:

Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe!
And ever and anon he beat


He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down; And with a withering look

The war-denouncing trumpet took

And blew a blast so loud and dread,



The doubling drum with furious heat;

And, though sometimes, each dreary pause between, Dejected Pity at his side

With eyes up-raised, as one inspired,
Pale Melancholy sat retired;
And from her wild sequester'd seat,


Her soul-subduing voice applied,

Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien,

While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting from his head.

In notes by distance made more sweet,

Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul: And dashing soft from rocks around

Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd:
Sad proof of thy distressful state!


Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd;
And now it courted Love, now raving call'd on



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